Corr and Corvid in Early Irish Texts: Their Associations with Death, Prophecy and Guidance of the Hero
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The raven and crow have been associated with death in a variety of cultures, primarily due to their deep-black feathering and scavenger diet. In Scandinavia and Ireland the corvid was often paired with a supernatural patron, Valkyries and the Morrígan respectively. These supernatural patrons shared - and/or facilitated - the corvid's role as symbol of death, prophet and mentor of the hero, and were known to take up the shape of a corvid besides. The first part of this thesis is dedicated to exploring the similar function of the corvid in the Irish and Norse texts, while the second part discusses the corvid as a sine qua non, as it has an interesting foil in the corr ('crane, heron'). The corr is likewise associated with battle and prophecy, and its connection to the Irish hero Finn mac Cumaill may be indicative of a mentorship alike to that of the Morrígan and Cú Chulainn.